Home to St. Louis
After weeks of planning and packing for my solo trip, I pulled out of my driveway early Friday morning. This was after having spent the day before filling the rental with camping gear, food, clothing, various electronics I couldn’t live without, and anything in between. It was good thing I was travelling solo. The only empty space left was the driver’s seat.
Leaving my driveway in a light mist of rain, my emotions ran all over the place. Yes, there was excitement for the adventure ahead as well as the feeling of freedom of getting away from the mundane day to day tasks. There was also some sadness. Leaving your family for three weeks is a long time. Phone calls and texts are good, but there is nothing like the real thing. And then there is the fear of the unknown.
When I tell most people about my solo tripping, there are the usual comments of “Wow, I could never do that. You’re brave to go out on your own,” or “Why do you want to do that alone?” I am being honest when I reply, “Yes, you can do it and no, I’m not brave.” You see I do have the fear of the unknown, but the excitement of the unknown outweighs it. And that answers the why question too. I love the challenge of going alone to overcome fear of trying something new and exciting.
After a few minutes of the emotions, I started up my road trip playlist, leading with “Life is a Highway” (Tom Cochrane version). And that’s when excitement took over.
But after six hours of driving in light rain, intermit rain, heavy rain, no rain and back to heavy rain, light rain and no rain, some of the excitement had waned a little. At this point I just wanted to get to Nashville, the first major point of my journey.
Two hours outside it at rest stop, eating my packed ham sandwich and cheese nips, I get a call from my husband. After checking to see how it was going, he informed me our mechanic finished repairs on our youngest son’s car, but the tags and registration was outdated. Somehow the car had been inspected, but last years tags were on the license plate. With my half-eaten sandwich on my lap, I racked my brain how was that possible. No problem my husband informed me. He had checked online and found we could bring everything up to date by paying a fine along with the original tag and taxes fees.
Leaving from there, I made Nashville just in time for the early rush hour traffic. I had two choices: stay or keep driving. I compromised by cracking open my windows while I snail crawled down Broadway Street watching drenched tourists run along side the country music blasting honky tonks.
Thirty minutes later heading west on the interstate out of town, I watched the sun break through the clouds at the same time my eyes spotted a half moon on the side of the road. The human kind, not the celestial one. Off on the right shoulder, hooking up a car, a tow truck driver flashed so much butt crack it made me wonder if he was even wearing underwear.
Five hours late, I pulled into the hotel in St. Louis tired and a little red eyed. A long first day for sure. Reflecting, I realized that trips don’t have to start off sunny and happy, mundane tasks don’t get left at home and that some cracks need more speckling than others.